The other night I joined several former high school classmates for a night of mayhem at the roller skating rink. When we were growing up, it was the place to be on Friday nights. Sometimes my parents would decide we were going to have a family night, and I would be so upset, because if I wasn't at the skating rink, I was a NOBODY (at least that's what I thought).
The skating rink hasn't changed a bit - the pizza tastes the same; the carpet is peeling off the walls; and the skates look about 20 years old. In fact, one of the guys in our group was merrily skating along and lost a wheel!
As children on that rink, we learned some things that would serve us well when we faced the world as adults - how to take risks, like skating backwards or asking someone to join us for the couples skate. How to get up after a fall. How to come back and try again, even after suffering a sprain or broken limb. How to lose ourselves in the moment as our feet flew around the rink. And perhaps most importantly, how to do the hokey pokey.
While the place hasn't changed, by the grace of God, we have. Many of us barely knew each other, if at all, in our youth. Some of us are (or have been) married and partnered, some have children. Over the years we have grown and are finding our paths and are learning to trust and love ourselves.
As we gathered that night, I didn't feel worried about what others might think of me as I tried to stay on my feet. While I often forget it, one of the blessings of becoming an adult is being able to relish small accomplishments. The skating rink still has things to teach me. The first time around the rink, I hugged the wall. The second time around, I fell. Getting up is tough! But I was determined to skate, and I didn't fall again. Others in our group were more graceful, dancing and skating backwards. I was content with staying on my feet. What an accomplishment!
I'm so grateful for a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new (old) friends, to laugh and reminisce together, to talk about our past and future journeys. And I hope that old skating rink continues to bring people together and teach life's lessons. But it's probably time for some new skates.